Kummanam quits as Mizoram guv, may contest LS polls

Kummanam Rajasekhara

The return of Kummanam Rajasekharan to Kerala politics, after his 10-month-long stint as the Mizoram governor, is not only aimed at getting an ideal candidate for the Lok Sabha election from the state capital but also to put to rest the infight in the BJP Kerala unit.

Acting upon party directions, Kummanam submitted his resignation to President Ramnath Kovind and which was accepted on Friday. Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi has been given the additional charge of Mizoram.

DH had in December reported that the Kerala BJP wanted Kummanam to return to the state to fight elections.

Even as the BJP's poll prospects in Kerala brightened with the consolidation of the core Hindu vote base over the Sabarimala women entry row, the party is literally struggling to get a suitable candidate for Thiruvananthapuram constituency. The BJP is pinning high hopes in the constituency as veteran leader O Rajagopal emerged second in 2014, bringing down Congress' Shashi Tharoor’s victory margin of close to one lakh in 2009 to just around 15,000.

In the 2016 Assembly election, Kummanam emerged in the second place in Vattiyoorkavu constituency in Thiruvananthapuram. In the same election, the BJP opened its account in the Kerala Assembly with Rajagopal's victory from Nemom constituency, that too in Thiruvananthapuram.

A couple of pre-poll surveys have already predicted that the BJP may open its LS account in Kerala.

Over the past couple of months, the BJP has been considering various leaders and even celebrities to contest from Thiruvananthapuram, which included superstar Mohanlal, actor-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, former state police chief T P Senkumar and BJP Kerala general secretary K Surendran. But the BJP state unit recently suggested to the national leadership that Kummanam could be the most ideal candidate for Thiruvananthapuram. However, a formal announcement of Kummanam's candidature is yet to come.

Kummanam, a former BJP state president, is an RSS man. His return to Kerala politics might further energise party cadre at the grass root-level. The BJP Kerala unit, which is now led by P S Sreedharan Pillai, has been mired in infights.

BJP president Amit Shah has taken serious note of this. Even an RSS delegation had strongly raised the demand to bring back Kummanam.

Kummanam's posting as the Mizoram governor had come as a shocker in May last year. It was also alleged to be the outcome of the infighting in the party. But the infighting seemed to have further intensified after Kummanam's departure. Kummanam earlier held the posts of Hindu Aikya Vedi secretary and Sabarimala Ayyapa Seva Samajam general secretary.

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Kummanam quits as Mizoram guv, may contest LS polls

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